Paul Fix

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Paul Fix
Paul Fix Billy Carraway 1962.JPG
Fix in a dual role in a 1962 episode of The Rifleman as "Charming Billy" Carraway
Peter Paul Fix

(1901-03-13)March 13, 1901
DiedOctober 14, 1983(1983-10-14) (aged 82)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Years active1925–1981
Frances Harvey
(m. 1922; div. 1945)

Beverly Pratt
(m. 1949; died 1979)
RelativesHarry Carey Jr. (son-in-law)

Peter Paul Fix (March 13, 1901 – October 14, 1983) was an American film and television character actor who was best known for his work in Westerns. Fix appeared in more than 100 movies and dozens of television shows over a 56-year career between 1925 and 1981. Fix was best known for portraying Marshal Micah Torrance, opposite Chuck Connors's character in The Rifleman from 1958 to 1963. He later appeared with Connors in the 1966 Western film Ride Beyond Vengeance and The Time Tunnel episode, ""End of the World".

Early life and military service[edit]

Paul Fix was born in Dobbs Ferry, New York, to Wilhelm Fix, a brewmaster, and the former Louise C. Walz,[citation needed] though some sources say he was born Paul Fix Morrison.[1] His mother and father were German immigrants who had left their Black Forest home and arrived in New York City in the 1870s.

Following the United States' entry into World War I in April 1917, Fix joined the National Guard, initially serving at Peekskill, New York. After three months of duty there, he went AWOL and enlisted in the U.S. Army. After serving at Fort Slocum for three months, he again went AWOL and then enlisted in the U.S. Navy, and was stationed in Providence, Rhode Island. While serving in the Navy, Fix was recruited to perform on stage in a Navy Relief Organization production of the comic opera H.M.S. Pinafore. Later, he served as a hospital corpsman aboard ships transporting American troops to and from Europe, and continued that assignment until he was officially discharged from military service on September 5, 1919.[2]

Stage and films[edit]

Following the war, Fix became a busy character actor, who got his start in local productions in New York. By the 1920s, he had moved to Hollywood, and performed in the first of almost 350 movie and television appearances. In the 1930s, he became friends with John Wayne. He was Wayne's acting coach and eventually appeared as a featured player in about 27 of Wayne's films.[3][4]

Fix worked in early films such as Lucky Star (1929) with Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell and Ladies Love Brutes (1930), and became a regular performer for the film's director, Frank Borzage, on a further eight occasions. Fix later appeared as Richard Bravo in the 1950s cult classic, The Bad Seed (1956) with Nancy Kelly, The Sea Chase (1955) with John Wayne and Lana Turner, playing Heinz the cook, and in George Stevens' Giant (1956) with James Dean, portraying Elizabeth Taylor's father.

Fix appeared as the presiding judge in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) with Gregory Peck. He played the sheriff in The Sons of Katie Elder (1965) with John Wayne and Dean Martin. In 1966, he appeared in the film El Dorado with Wayne and Robert Mitchum. In 1972, he was cast in the film Night of the Lepus, and the following year, he portrayed the New Mexico rancher Pete Maxwell in Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid with James Coburn. In 1979, he appeared in Wanda Nevada. Fix co-wrote the screenplay for the John Wayne film Tall in the Saddle.[5]


Although Fix is best-remembered for his recurring role as Marshal Micah Torrance on ABC's Western series The Rifleman,[citation needed]he also performed in guest-starring roles in many other television programs between the 1950s and late 1970s. In the 1958 episode "The Golden Gun" on the ABC/Warner Bros.' Western Colt .45, he portrayed Frank Wilson, Sr., the father of Frank, Jr., played by Edd Byrnes.[citation needed]

Fix in The Rifleman as his regular character in the series, Marshal Torrance.

On Christmas Day, 1958, Fix appeared in the episode "Medal for Valor" on CBS's Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater. Fix plays Rufus Stewart, a businessman who hires David Manning, played by Richard Basehart, a man with an ill wife, who is in need of medical treatment, to substitute in the American Civil War for Stewart's son, Adam, portrayed by Richard Anderson. Manning, who won a Medal of Honor, returns from three years in the United States Army with an affidavit certifying that he was a military substitute so that he can claim western land. Rufus Stewart reneges on the promise because the son, the local sheriff, is running for the United States House of Representatives. Oddly, Rufus ends up being shot to death in a confrontation that he caused, and Adam agrees to provide the affidavit to Manning. The episode does not reveal if the sheriff was elected to Congress, but considers the political liability of one having hired a substitute in the war.[6]

Fix guest-starred on the short-lived detective series, Meet McGraw[citation needed] and on the Western series of Rory Calhoun and John Payne, The Texan and The Restless Gun, which aired, respectively, in the same time slot on Mondays on CBS and NBC.

Fix played the historical role of U.S. President Zachary Taylor in the 1960 episode "That Taylor Affair" of the NBC Western series, Riverboat, with Darren McGavin. Arlene Dahl was cast in this episode as Lucy Belle.[7]

In 1961, Fix appeared as Ramsey Collins in the series finale, "Around the Dark Corner", of the NBC crime drama Dante. That same year, he played Dr. Abel in the episode "The Haven" on The DuPont Show with June Allyson. His other television credits include Adventures of Superman (1953–1954, with Anthony Caruso and Elisha Cook Jr.) and the adventure series, Northwest Passage.

Fix played Dr Mark Piper in the second pilot episode of Star Trek, "Where No Man Has Gone Before". When the first series was filmed, his character was replaced by Leonard McCoy, played by DeForest Kelley.[8][9]

Fix made five appearances as District Attorney Hale on Perry Mason (1957–1963), showing great skill as an examiner who did not ask objectionable questions unlike Hamilton Burger, who often experienced a judge's ire for asking leading questions. He guest-starred on such television series as Wagon Train (1962), The Twilight Zone (1964), The F.B.I. (1965–1973), Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1966), The Time Tunnel (1966), The Wild Wild West (1966–1967), Gunsmoke (1967), Daniel Boone (1969), Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law (1971), The Rockford Files episode "The House on Willis Avenue" (as Joe Tooley), and two episodes of The Streets of San Francisco, one in 1973 and again in 1975, each a different character/storyline. He appeared on the NBC series Kentucky Jones (1964) as Judge Perkins in the episode "Spare the Rod". He played an aging suicidal novelist named Maxwell Hart on the Emergency! fourth-season episode "Kidding", where paramedic John Gage, played by Randolph Mantooth, was in charge of a small group of intellectual 10- and 11-year-old school children on a tour of Rampart General Hospital. In 1974, he made an appearance as an old friend of Steve Austin's in the TV series The Six Million Dollar Man in the episode "Population Zero". He also appeared as Kronus, a retired fleet commander on the original Battlestar Galactica.

Fix played the hardy pioneer James Briton "Brit" Bailey in the 1969 episode "Here Stands Bailey" of Death Valley Days.

Personal life and death[edit]

His daughter Marilyn married actor Harry Carey, Jr., in 1944, and they had four children of their own.[3][10][11]

Fix died of kidney failure in Los Angeles at the age of 82.[10]

Selected filmography[edit]

Film writer[edit]



  1. ^ James Robert Parish (1978). Hollywood character actors. Arlington House. p. 200.
  2. ^ "Paul Peter Fix collection: Veterans History Project (Library of Congress". Retrieved May 10, 2017.
  3. ^ a b Carey Jr., Harry (1994). Company of Heroes: My Life as an Actor in the John Ford Stock Company. Metuchen, New Jersey: Scarecrow Press. p. 72. ISBN 0-8108-2865-0.
  4. ^ Eyman, Scott (2015). John Wayne: The Life and Legend. New York: Simon & Schuster. p. 73. ISBN 978-1-4391-9958-9.
  5. ^ Eyman 2015, p. 147.
  6. ^ "Zane Grey Theatre: "Medal for Valor", December 25, 1958". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved October 6, 2012.
  7. ^ Kotar, S. L.; Gessler, J. E. (2009). "Part XIII. Season Two Credits". Riverboat: The Evolution of a Television Series, 1959-1961. Albany, Georgia: BearManor Media. ISBN 978-1-59393-505-4.
  8. ^ Zoglin, Richard (July 21, 2016). "A Bold Vision: How Star Trek First Made It to the Screen". Time. Retrieved July 21, 2016.
  9. ^ "9 fascinating facts about 'The Rifleman'". MeTV. March 10, 2016. Retrieved March 10, 2016.
  10. ^ a b "Paul Fix, Actor, Is Dead; In 300 Movies Since 1926". The New York Times. October 19, 1983. Retrieved September 11, 2017.
  11. ^ Byrge, Duane (December 28, 2012). "Western Character Actor Harry Carey Jr. Dies". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 28, 2012.

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